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Merchandise of Power: Arms Trade and Control between Europe and East Africa, 1850-1919

Felix Brahm

This project studies the massive firearms trade in the context of globalising trade relations and European colonialism in East Africa. It traces the networks of this commerce, inquires into its modalities on different scales and considers its various social implications. It studies the establishment of a firearms commodity chain between Europe and East Africa and takes a close look at the different places and actors involved. The project aims for a broad understanding of arms trade by looking into the different usages and symbolic meanings firearms and its possession acquired and into the consequences of its proliferation, amongst others for gender relations. It also explores both African and European arms control regimes and will demonstrate its significance for colonial rule and the construction of racial difference. It finally traces early moralization of the African arms trade and sheds light on the colonial origins of international arms trade regulation.